One by one the Occupy Wall Street solidarity camps are disappearing, swept away by public officials using local municipal police departments. The latest attempts to end the nationwide occupations include activist camps located in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston.
Police departments trying to control the occupiers have been accused of using excessive force in New York City, Oakland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, and other locations. In Seattle and Berkeley, law enforcement agencies have used paramilitary SWAT teams to stop non-violent occupations and protests.
Now Occupy Seattle is facing an immediate eviction from their camp of 100 tents at Seattle Central Community College. The group's legal battle with the college ended last week when a judge denied their request for a restraining order. On December 5 Seattle police posted a 72-hour notice to the occupiers ordering them to dismantle the encampment. The deadline for their departure is noon on December 9.
The Seattle Police Department is currently under a Department of Justice investigation due to allegations of racial profiling and excessive use of force. Given their past encounters with the police department at Westlake Park, the Occupy Seattle organizers are worried that law enforcement officers may use force to push the occupy campers off the college campus.
Some teachers and students from SCCC say they will try to protect the Occupy Seattle campers from arrest by surrounding them and locking arms. But many of the campers are cynical that anything can be done to save the occupation. After the last general assembly held at the college a camper who calls herself "Justice" told Occupy Seattle supporters, "I am very proud of all of us for standing up for what we believe. But I don't want anyone to get injured or arrested while trying to save my tent."
Many of the Occupy Seattle demonstrators have accepted the fact that these kinds of forced evictions are happening all across the country. They see the end of the encampments as a sign that the government and most of the people in the US are still unwilling to face up to the reality of the global economic collapse. According to these activists, the American population is not yet ready to embrace the social changes that will be necessary in order to force US leadership to legislate authentic reforms of the economic and political system.
But one of the topics being discussed at Occupy Seattle meetings is the idea that the Occupy Wall Street movement should spend the next few months planning for a re-emergence during an "American Spring". One organizer referred to the coming winter as the movement's version of Valley Forge - a reference to George Washington's battered and emaciated revolutionary soldiers who struggled to survive harsh winter conditions during the war for independence from Great Britain.
Despite these challenges, Occupy Seattle remains adamant that they will not disband even if the camp is dismantled. Major actions have already been planned for December 12 including an attempt to shut down all US west coast ports. These actions are being organized as a protest against the crackdowns on the occupation camps, and as a way to express opposition to the anti-labor policies of many major US and multinational corporations.
Occupy Seattle organizers have plans for next year as well, including a series of major demonstrations against corporate and government corruption.
Mark Taylor-Canfield is an independent journalist, activist and musician based in Seattle. If you would like to contribute as a citizen journalist to The Huffington Post's coverage of the 2012 elections and American political life, please sign up at www.offthebus.org.
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